Thursday, July 28, 2011

The ADCOLOR® Industry Coalition Announces Honorees for 2011 ADCOLOR Awards

CNN Director of Multi-Cultural Sales and AdColor honoree Michele Thornton; Nina Cooper, PepsiCo Chief Consumer Engagement Officer; Frank Cooper III, Chief Marketing Officer, Sparkling Beverages at PepsiCo; and TV personality and CNN host Soledad O'Brien attend ADCOLOR Live! on July 21, 2011 in New York City. Photo: Nunez/Wireimage

By Akira Barclay, Contributor

On Thursday, July 21st, The ADCOLOR® Industry Coalition announced the 2011 ADCOLOR Industry Awards Honorees at ADCOLOR Live! in New York City. The event, held at Time Warner Center's Park Café, brought together nearly 200 industry influencers and rising stars. Among the 2011 honorees are actress and activist Rosario Dawson, who will receive ADCOLOR’s All-Star Award presented by Omnicom Group, and for the first time, GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) will present an ADCOLOR Advocate Award in recognition of industry influencers from the LGBT community.

Founded by Tiffany R. Warren, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at the Omnicom Group, Inc., the ADCOLOR® Industry Coalition (AIC) is the advertising industry’s premier organization dedicated to fostering and promoting increased diversity in the advertising, marketing and media industries. A historic collaboration between The Advertising Club of New York, The American Advertising Federation (AAF), The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) and Arnold Worldwide and Omnicom Group, its mission is to support and inspire professionals of color while championing diversity within the industry.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien hosted ADCOLOR® Live! along with Frank Cooper, Chief Marketing Officer of Sparkling Beverages at PepsiCo. When asked why she chose to get involved with ADCOLOR, the popular anchor said she when she’s presented with an opportunity to work with good people doing good things that can really move the needle, she’s more than happy to help. Media, marketing and advertising play a huge part in helping to move the needle in social change underscoring ADCOLOR’s impact in bringing more diverse faces around the table.

Jose Fernandez, ESPN Customer Sales and Marketing; Felicia Geiger, Deutsch, Inc.; Nicole Hall, Draftfcb; Akintayo Adewole, Akande Music + Publishing

James Ebron, ESPN; Doug Alligood, BBDO; Wendell Scott, ESPN

Michele Thornton; Greg D'Alba, COO/EVP Sales & Marketing, CNN; Tiffany R. Warren, Founder, ADCOLOR Industry Coalition and SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, Omnicom; Frank Cooper; Soledad O'Brien

The ADCOLOR Industry Coalition will host the 2011 ADCOLOR Awards and Industry Conference at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, September 16-17. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, AIC’s annual ADCOLOR Awards and Industry Conference has become one of the industry’s most coveted and notable events. “ADCOLOR is pleased to honor and recognize this year’s outstanding group of honorees whose work has influenced the industry, while positively impacting the lives of people across the country and globally,” says Tiffany R. Warren. “We look forward to honoring them at the ADCOLOR Industry Awards this September and to welcoming the hundreds of industry professionals who plan to attend the Conference.”

For more ADCOLOR® Awards & Industry Conference information, please visit ADCOLOR’s microsite, designed by SBS Studios LLC, at

Photo Credit: Alex Lipowec 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Celebrities Unite for 8th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Weekend

Will Smith, Guest, Charles "Charlie Mack" Alston, and Rebecca and Terry Crews attend the 8th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Weekend on July 22-24, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA.

Charles "Charlie Mack" Alston, a respected and seasoned entertainment and sports industry insider, brought Hollywood to Philadelphia with his 8th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Celebrity Weekend. In conjunction with Keystone Mercy, a portion of the weekend’s proceeds benefited the Charlie Mack Cares Center. The weekend of events attracted many stars from Will Smith to Tyrese Gibson, and a host of actors and athletes including Michael Vick, Raheem Brock, and Rasheed Wallace, along with entertainment figures and music heavy-hitters such as Kenny Gamble and Rodney Jerkins.

Events included a private welcome dinner on Friday, July 22nd with celebrities such as Allen Payne, Jill Marie Jones, Elise Neal, and Affion Crockett; a "Good Will" tour visiting juvenile detention centers speaking to incarcerated teens, a ribbon cutting opening of the Bible Way Playground, a Healthy Hoops event, asthma screenings, the world premiere of the film “Streets,” and a visit to the Charlie Mack Cares Center. The center’s building purchase was funded by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

(Second from left) Actress Elise Neal, Charlie Mack and Jill Marie Jones

Michael Vick, Charlie Mack, Tyrese Gibson, and Maria Battle of Keystone Mercy at the Healthy Hoops event.

A panel discussion featuring Terry and Rebecca Crews, Bresha Webb, Tocarra Jones and Allen Payne

Tyrese Gibson with youth at the Healthy Hoops event.

Another highlight was the Charlie Mack Talented Teens competition, a platform showcase for teens from Philadelphia and surrounding areas where they had the opportunity to perform for super producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, singer/songwriter Kalenna of Diddy's Dirty Money, iForTalent CEO Amber Noble, and TV One’s Ultimate Merger star Tocarra Jones. BET's 106 & Park host Terrence J emceed the event and America's Best Dance Crew's Iconic Boys gave fans an energetic performance with recording artist Lil’ Mama.

Mack gave the talent competition attendees the ultimate surprise when he introduced Will Smith. Smith remained for the duration of the competition offering words of encouragement and wisdom to young and old. Another highlight of the evening was Smith increasing the scholarship award amounts to the competition winners to total $15,000.

To learn more, visit the website at

Source: Press release/Photo Credit: Whitney Thomas

Snoop Dogg

Young Professionals Launch StreetFood Artistry; Chicago Charities to Benefit

By Talitha Johnson, Contributor

Two budding young professionals have joined forces to create StreetFood Artistry, an inaugural festival celebrating street food and art in Chicago. The event will take place August 14 at Galleria Marchetti (825 W. Erie Street).

The festivities will spotlight cuisine from Chicago’s eclectic street food scene including pop-up restaurants, street-inspired dishes, gourmet food trucks and old fashioned food carts. It will also feature live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, food tastings, an ice cream social, Chicago street art and a silent auction benefiting three area non-profits: Common Threads, Chicago Street Musicians and The University of Chicago Charter School.

“Chicago has become a desired culinary destination. This event will certainly attract masses from both the culinary and art worlds. Our endeavors will not only provide entertainment, but serve as a vehicle to give back and build our communities,” said Alicia August-Wright (right), co-founder of StreetFood Artistry.

Patrons can look forward to “Macy’s Chefs a Go-Go” tour, which is slated to host appearances and live cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs such as Takashi Yagihashi. A bevy of delectable eateries – Hubbard Inn, Fish Bar, cibo matto, e.leaven Food Company and Sweet Ride – are preparing to serve patrons with bite size meals.

During the one-day festival, fine art and fashion photographer Geraldine Rodriguez will conduct an interactive, live photo shoot. Attendees will have access to an art exhibit held at Three Peas Art Lounge. There will be several live musical performances from the likes of Chicago Street Musicians, Soul People, H2O Soul and M.A.D.D. Rhythms.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to unite Chicago's food influencers and art aficionados. StreetFood Artistry provides a platform for people to gain insight on street food cuisine, cooking techniques and new exploits in the culinary world,” said Patrice Perkins, Co-Founder, StreetFood Artistry.

Admission for adults is $40, and $20 for children ages 6-13, kids ages 6 and under are free. VIP tickets are $70. To purchase tickets online, visit:

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Insider: Arva R. Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League

This week, the National Urban League is hosting its annual conference with the theme, “Jobs Rebuild America,” in Boston, MA. Among the many featured speakers who are national leaders in business, government, academia and the arts is Arva R. Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League (NYUL). Since 1919, NYUL has provided programs to New York’s underserved residents to ensure they receive the necessary education and employment opportunities. Rice took the helm in April 2009, and since then, she has made significant strides in furthering the organization's mission.

She has aligned an impressive string of successes in a relatively short period of time, including forging a partnership with music titan Mary J. Blige's Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) that resulted in establishing the inaugural Girls Empowerment Day and a 4-year $50,000 scholarship for an outstanding college-bound young woman.

Under her leadership, the NYUL has also allied with Jordan Fundamentals, the nonprofit organization run by basketball great Michael Jordan, giving deserving students the opportunity to be trained as Team Jordan athletes through a 10-week sportsmanship program. Rice is keenly aware of the legacy of the NYUL and has vowed to advocate on behalf of New Yorkers on issues of equality specifically related to education and employment. To guide her in her advocacy efforts, she has brought together senior executives from leading Fortune 500 companies such as the New York Daily News, AT&T New York, Morgan Stanley and Macy's.

Her previous positions include serving as Executive Director of Project Enterprise, founding Executive Director of Public Allies New York, and Program Director of Economic Literacy for Girls Incorporated, where she forged a strategic alliance with American Express that brought about the publication of 'Money Matters: An Economic Literacy Action Kit for Girls.'

A graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and current resident of Harlem, Rice currently serves on the Advisory Board for FFAWN, and as a Commissioner for the NYC Equal Employment Practices Commission. She is a recipient of The Network Journal's "Forty under 40" Black Achiever's Award, NV Magazine's Community Award and the National Urban League's Centennial Newcomer CEO of the Year Award.

Ms. Rice talks to BlackGivesBack about her three strategies for forming a successful nonprofit partnership, fundraising tips, her greatest career lesson, advice for those wishing to enter the nonprofit sector, and more:

You've formed impressive partnerships during your tenure with NYUL, collaborating with celebrities and their foundations such as Mary J. Blige and sports legend Michael Jordan, to help advance the organization's mission. What are 3 key strategies a nonprofit can use to form a successful partnership?

There are three key things I try to keep in mind when pursuing any potential partnership:

First, establish clear goals for the partnership and make sure all parties understand and agree upon these goals. Signing a Memorandum of Understanding is key to ensuring the partnership’s success.

Second, identify more than one potential partner to help you reach your goals. Multiple partnerships (ie. a celebrity, a sports figure, a corporate leader) are beneficial in not only reaching a much broader audience, but also key if one partner cannot participate.

Third, you have to accept that not every partnership will work. For every successful partnership we have at least twice as many that didn’t pan out. But we keep identifying and nurturing relationships with potential and future partners so that when the time is right we will be ready.

While at your previous positions with Project Enterprise and Public Allies New York, you increased funding from board members, foundations, government and individuals. How did you accomplish this?

The key element in fund-raising and sponsorship is to raise your organization’s visibility. Once you let people know who you are and what you do, they recognize your mission, understand your need, and feel more compelled to help.

At Public Allies New York we connected young people directly with corporate leaders through Leadership Luncheons, which not only gave young people direct access to the executives they admired, but also brought the Public Allies mission to life for these executives. We have been able to replicate this success at the NYUL with the Girls’ Empowerment Day and Young Men’s Empowerment Day events.

At Project Enterprise we charged the annual fundraising event host committee members with helping to select the Entrepreneur of the Year. They were not just planning another fundraising evening, but were tasked with helping choose the winner, video-taping the person being told, and presenting this video at the annual fundraising dinner.

Anything you can do to make more people aware of and involved in your causes will help in securing support.

Why is it important that we as a community ensure equality in education, employment, and financial literacy, particularly in the African American community? How is the NYUL providing support in these areas?

As the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen in this country it is vitally important that we push for equality in education, employment, and financial literacy, particularly in the African American community.

At the NYUL we host a number of events and programs to promote quality education for all, including:

The HBCU College Fair, The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Scholarship Fund (over $20M awarded to date), The NYUL College Readiness Program in Staten Island and Harlem, a Financial Literacy Program, Making Your Money Go Farther in partnership with Master Card, and The NYUL Technology & Education Center at Harlem Renaissance High School.

In addition, we are committed to helping everyone in our community find meaningful work that pays a living wage. The NYUL’s training and apprentice programs for the construction and dental assistant fields have helped thousands of New Yorkers find good jobs. The NYUL also provides workshops on resume writing and job search & interviewing techniques, as well as offering technology, language and other free classes at the NYUL Technology & Education Center.

With the national unemployment rate for African-American men almost double the national average and youth unemployment at 24%, it is critical that the NYUL and others do everything they can to help.

The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Scholarship Fund Award ceremony, held last month, awarded 43 New York City students $131,500 in scholarships. In photo: Keynote Speaker Raymond McGuire, Head, Global Banking, Citi, Arva R. Rice, Marilyn F. Booker, Morgan Stanley, Managing Director, Vice Chairperson for the New York Urban League; and Quincy Dunlap, Director of College Access, New York Urban League.

Share a success story.

I have been blessed to meet many of the NYUL’s “Success Stories,” but one who springs to mind is Charity Nicole Fisher, a 2010 recipient of the NYUL Whitney M. Young, Jr. Scholarship.

In September 2009, Charity’s mother’s position at a non-profit organization was eliminated and despite her desire and her talent, Charity did not have the resources to attend college. Thanks to the scholarship funds, she is currently attending Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, an eight-year program leading to an M.D. After completing the program Charity has committed to working for at least two years in an under-resourced community within New York as a doctor providing care to those in need.

In addition to school, part-time work, and tutoring high school students in mathematics, Charity volunteers at a non-profit organization that provides children of incarcerated parents with mentors. At the Frederick Douglass Awards she said, “Because of non-profit organizations like the New York Urban League, events like tonight, supporting people like you, and ambitious young adults like me and the rest of the scholarship recipients, I can honestly tell my mentee that she can achieve whatever she wants to achieve in life as long as she has the will and the drive to make her aspirations come true.”

Rice with 2011 Whitney M. Young, Jr scholar Trishorn Plummer

What is one of the greatest career lessons that you've learned?

One key lesson I learned when I first came to New York as an Urban Fellow is to be connected and to stay connected. Be connected to the opportunity and to the people you meet on your journey. I am still in touch with the people I met on my fellowship and they have been instrumental in my success. Keep in touch with people in your network and remember - no one gets anywhere alone.

You've had a successful 20 year nonprofit career. What advice do you have for someone wishing to enter the field? And for those currently working in the sector?

My advice to anyone wishing to enter this field is to volunteer. Get to know the sector through volunteering. If there is a wrong you desperately want to right, then focus on that area of non-profit work.

I think the best training for the Executive Director of a non-profit is being on the Board of a non-profit organization.

While rewarding, working in the non-profit sector is not easy and it requires a broad skill set. Take courses in management, fundraising, and accounting (to name a few) to ensure you are successful.

What's next for NYUL?

It is an exciting time for the NYUL. This Fall the NYUL, in conjunction with the New York Daily News, U.S. News and World Report, and the NYC Department of Education, will publish “A Parent’s Guide to College.” The guide will examine all facets of college preparation and is specifically designed for parents of students who are the first generation in their family to attend college.

The parent guide will be released in conjunction with the 40th Annual NYUL Football Classic, which will be held September 24 at the New Meadowlands Stadium. More than 40,000 NYUL supporters will watch Howard University take on Morgan State University. Proceeds from the Football Classic benefit the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Scholarship fund. Tickets can be purchased at

For more information about the New York Urban League, please visit or call 212-926-8000.

Friday, July 22, 2011

U.S. Postal Service Honors Johnson Publishing Company Founder John H. Johnson With 2012 Forever Stamp

Via Press Release: The U.S. Postal Service will honor John H. Johnson, founder of preeminent media company Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of EBONY and JET magazines, and owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a global prestige cosmetics brand for women of color, by featuring the legendary publisher and distinguished business leader on a 2012 Forever Stamp as part of its Black Heritage stamp series.

Johnson overcame poverty and racism to build a business empire embracing magazines, radio stations, cosmetics, and more. His magazines portrayed black people positively at a time when such representation was rare, and played an important role in the civil rights movement.

His unwillingness to accept defeat was a key to Johnson’s success. When he was unable to buy a lot in downtown Chicago because of his skin color, he hired a white lawyer who bought the land in trust. Thus, Johnson became the first black person to build a major building in Chicago’s Loop, where Johnson Publishing still has its headquarters.

As Johnson’s influence, accomplishments, and fortune grew, he received many prizes and honors. He joined Vice President Richard Nixon on a goodwill tour of Africa and served as a Special United States Ambassador for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) awarded him its prestigious Spingarn Medal in 1966. Six years later, in 1972, his industry peers named him publisher of the year — a prize Johnson compared to winning an Oscar. In presenting Johnson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996, President Bill Clinton lauded him for giving hope to African Americans during difficult times. A panel of experts polled by Baylor University in 2003 named Johnson “the greatest minority entrepreneur in American history.” That same year, Howard University named its journalism school after him.

Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company and daughter of John H. Johnson, said, “I am honored and pleased that the U.S. Postal Service has chosen to recognize the extraordinary and revolutionary work my father did in giving a voice and a platform to Black Americans in a time when so few sources recognized our achievements. We are committed to carrying on his legacy and to continue producing products that portray the best of Black America and represent the community with the same level of pride and authenticity.”

The stamp, designed by USPS art director Howard Paine, features a color photograph of John H. Johnson taken by Bachrach Studios in Chicago. The photographer was David McCann.

The U.S. Postal Service has recognized the achievements of prominent African Americans through the Black Heritage series since 1978. This stamp honoring Johnson is the 35th stamp in that series, which highlights outstanding individuals who helped shape American culture.  Source:  PRNewswire/Beyond the Perf

Yehri Wi Cry: Childhood Friends Give Back to the Women of Sierra Leone

Yehri We Cry, a project supporting child bearing women in Sierra Leone, hosted a charity event on July 14, 2011 at District Lounge in Washington, DC, to raise funds for their upcoming humanitarian mission. Starting second from left are Naffisatu Conteh, Chair of Outreach; Passion Artis, Chair of Finance; Agnes Erskine, Chair of Public Relations & Communications; and Marie Mansaray, President and Co-founder, and Miss Sierra Leone USA 2010; and Khadijatu Rahim (second from right), Chair of Programming.

The Power of Collective Giving: In 2010, childhood friends Marie Mansaray, Nadia Sasso, and Zainab Fadlu Deen were engaging in a conversation on how they could give back to a country that they felt so close to, but yet still distant. Although born in America, their parents are natives of Sierra Leone, a country where women of lower class tend to lack the health care resources necessary to carry a full term pregnancy into a successful delivery. They founded Yehri Wi Cry (YWC), a project geared towards diminishing the maternal and infant mortality crisis in the country. The name translates from the Sierra Leonean dialect of Krio into “Hear Our Cry.”

For their first initiative, a team of YWC members and founders will travel to Sierra Leone on July 31, 2011 to distribute birthing kits and incentive packages, and to educate the global community about the magnitude of prenatal care and its significance to a successful birthing process. The maternal kits will improve the livelihood of women and their babies during childbirth in villages where facilities are not available or are beyond their reach financially. YWC has already established partnerships with doctors from Sierra Leone which will contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of their missions. On July 14, 2011 at District Lounge in Washington, DC, YWC held a send off charity event to raise funds for their upcoming journey.

Zainab Fadlu-Deen, Co-Vice President and Co-Founder; Agnes Erskine, Chair of Public Relations and Communications; and Nadeen Lewally, Secretary

Co-Vice President and Co-founder, Nadia Sasso, shares about their upcoming journey: “Not only am I excited about our efforts to empower mothers in Sierra Leone, but I am excited to be doing this great deed with great people. This journey has been rough, but I know that on our way back we can say we did it and we did it together! I have no doubts about the impression we will make in Sierra Leone; and I know that we will be back again because our love for our country and all that it breeds is impalpable.”

Visit their Facebook page HERE and follow on Twitter at @YehriWiCry.

Photo credit: Sisay Photography

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

8th Annual Charlie Mack Party for Peace Weekend Aims to Inspire Youth, Promote Non-Violence & Encourage Healthy Lifestyles

Charles 'Charlie Mack' Alston, actress Lisa Raye and hip hop artist/actor T.I. attend the Charlie Mack Party for Peace Weekend in 2010.

Tyrese Gibson, LisaRaye McCoy, Kevin Hart, Tocarra Jones, Terry Crews and Michael Vick Among Esteemed Public Figures Spreading Message of “There Is A Better Way” At Annual 3-Day Community-Focused Gathering Presented by Hometown Activist, Charles “Charlie Mack” Alston

Philadelphia, PA – A bevy of celebrities from stage, screen and beyond will join Will Smith’s long time aide and confidante, Charles “Charlie Mack” Alston, for the 8th Annual Charlie Mack Celebrity Weekend, a highly anticipated series of star-studded charity events. This year’s weekend takes place July 22 -24, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA. Appropriately titled the “Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Celebrity Weekend,” a portion of the proceeds raised during the weekend will benefit local non-profit, the Charlie Mack Cares Center, a place of refuge for inner-city children found by Mack.

Started in 1990 solely as a celebrity basketball game, The Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Celebrity Weekend has evolved into a charitable benefit to raise awareness and money for organizations that work tirelessly to eradicate violence in Philadelphia. “As a native Philadelphian, I wanted to provide young people with a vehicle to interact with today’s entertainment industry actors/actresses and professional athletes. It was after the loss of my two brothers that I came to know my true calling in life, and recognized an even greater need to create a fundraising vehicle to assist anti-violence organizations,” states Mack. Since the inception of Party 4 Peace, homicide rates in the city of Philadelphia dropped by 10% each month after Celebrity Weekend. This sends a message that celebrities can make a difference,” adds Mack.

Academy Award nominee, philanthropist and Philadelphia native, Will Smith joined Charlie Mack at the weekend events that took place in 2006. Smith was visibly stunned and disturbed by the obscene level of crime plaguing the city where he was born and raised. “It is hard for me to get a grip on what is happening in the streets of Philadelphia; the same streets that I grew up in and walk through everyday. However, I do understand there is a different mindset today than when I was raised, so I feel compelled to do something and join my friend, Charlie Mack in curtailing the violence,” Smith stated.

For a schedule of events during the weekend and for more information, please visit

Monday, July 18, 2011

Photos of the Day: Celebrity & Corporate Philanthropy

Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages' (PCNAB) zero calorie beverage line-up teamed up with Bronx community natives, Grammy Award winning producer, rapper and artist Swizz Beatz (3rd from left), renowned graffiti artist Cope 2, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assemblyman Carl Heastie to launch the Bronx Flavor campaign at THE POINT in the South Bronx, NY on July 14, 2011. This summer, PCNAB is celebrating the Bronx community by providing residents with activities and education to help them make healthy lifestyle decisions.

"Being a father and also being involved with The Bronx Charter School for the Arts, I understand even more how important it is to stay healthy," said Swizz Beatz. "The Bronx Flavor initiative shows Pepsi-Cola North America's commitment to the well-being of our community." The Bronx Flavor campaign stretches throughout the summer with interactive activities. To stay in the know, follow @bxflavor on Twitter.

NFLer Israel Idonije and NBA star Dwyane Wade attend Michigan Avenue Magazine and Dwyane Wade's kick-off of the 4th Annual Wade's World Weekend on July 6, 2011 in Chicago. Wade will host his annual Wade's World Weekend on August 25-28 in Chicago benefiting his foundation that provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. Visit Wade's foundation site at  and Idonije's foundation website at

Danny Simmons, Russell Simmons and Tangie Murray attend the 12th Annual Art For Life art auction preview at Bonhams on July 13, 2011 in New York City.

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation will host their 12th annual Art For Life event on July 30, 2011 at the estate of Russell Simmons in Easthampton, NY. For over a decade, hundreds of friends and supporters have joined Russell Simmons, Danny Simmons, Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons and the foundation to celebrate the creative energy of New York City youth and honor exemplary individuals for success in their respective fields and good works to better the community.

Among the honorees this year are Mary J. Blige and Kimberly B. Davis, President of JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The event will be hosted by Soledad O'Brien with a special performance by Jennifer Hudson. For more information, visit HERE.

The Coca-Cola Foundation recently awarded $125,000 to five Louisiana historically black colleges and universities during the 2011 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans to help empower women scholars to complete their education.

In photo: Lori George Billingsley, vice president, Community Connections, Coca-Cola Refreshments; Shakiyah Huston and Nikita Peter; Ingrid Saunders Jones, chairperson, The Coca-Cola Foundation; Coca-Cola Polar Bear; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; scholarship students Alexandria Packer, Southern University-Baton Rouge; and Cybil Mashia, Southern University - New Orleans, and Kimberly Evans Paige, Assistant Vice President, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. (Photo credit: Margot Jordan)

Photos: Wireimage

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ebony Magazine Highlights Black Wealth & Giving in August 2011 Issue

Black giving makes the spotlight in Ebony magazine's latest special edition featuring actor, director, and philanthropist Tyler Perry.  The Black Wealth Issue, available now, includes the special report 'State of Black Wealth in America,' along with articles on where wealthy African Americans live, interviews with corporate and financial leaders including Citigroup chair Richard Parsons, buying black, and my personal favorite, "Where Wealthy Blacks Give..." that features my giving circle, the Black Benefactors!

In the article, senior editor Kevin Chappell provides a history of black giving, how and where we give, and the power of pooling dollars as a way to have a philanthropic impact.  To date, my giving circle has granted nearly $10,000 to local organizations that serve African American children, youth and families in the Washington, DC region.  We pool our dollars, and then decide where to give our dollars away.  Not only do we provide grants, but we donate our time and talent as well.  Giving circles are growing in popularity across the nation in the black community as a way to give back.

I launched the Black Benefactors a few months after I created this blog in 2007, so I'm deeply honored to be featured in one of the premier publications for African Americans - especially sharing the issue with Sheila Johnson, one of my favorite philanthropists.  You can learn more about my giving circle at and at an upcoming event that will be announced soon.  So pick up your copy today.  Thank you Ebony magazine!

Yours in giving,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Detroit Institute of Arts Hosts 47th Annual Bal Africain Gala, Honoring Maureen & Roy S. Roberts

(Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) auxiliary, Friends of African and African American Art (FAAAA) present the annual gala fundraiser Bal Africain® on July 16 from 6 to 11 p.m. Huel Perkins of WJBK-TV FOX2 will serve as master of ceremonies and Roxane Whitter Thomas is this year’s Bal Africain® chair.

This year’s honorary guests are Maureen and Roy S. Roberts, for whom the DIA recently named a gallery.

“We are delighted to welcome Maureen and Roy Roberts as our special guests at this year’s Bal Africain,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “We recently named a gallery of contemporary African American art in recognition of their very generous gift to the museum. Their support affirms the role art plays in enhancing the quality of life and the named gallery is a wonderful legacy for their family.”

Roy and Maureen Roberts are well-known philanthropists in the areas of the arts, culture and education. Mr. Roberts, who achieved many firsts for African Americans in the automotive industry, retired from General Motors as a group vice president. For more than 20 years, Ms. Roberts’ career focused on nursing and health care, and she served on the boards of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Visiting Nurses Association.

Bal African’s® theme this year is “Caribbean Splendor.” Guests will feel as if they have walked into an island paradise, with tropical trees, plants and flowers arranged by the DIA auxiliary support group Friends of Art and Flowers. Ambassadors from Jamaica, Barbados and the Republics of Trinidad and Tobago will be among the distinguished guests.

The evening begins with a VIP cocktail reception from 6–7 p.m., followed by a strolling dinner featuring Caribbean cuisine. Guests will be treated to the sounds of a steel band and can dance to the sounds of Juan Portillo/DJ Sabor.

This year there will also be a film festival in conjunction with Bal Africain®. On July 14 at 7 p.m., Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène’s 2000 movie FAAT-KINE, is featured. Set in present-day Dakar, it provides a critical look at modern, post-colonial Senegal and the place of women in that society. It gives a clear glimpse into life of the Senegalese middle-class and presents present-day Dakar in all of its contradictions of poverty and wealth, tradition and modernity. July 15 features Africa United, the extraordinary story of three Rwandan children who walk 3000 miles to South Africa, hoping to attend the World Cup. Both films are free with Bal Africain® tickets.

Bal African’s® sponsors include Ford Motor Company Fund, DTE Energy Foundation, General Motors Corporation, Delta Air Lines, Comerica Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network and the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation. Proceeds support educational programs and art acquisitions for the African and General Motors Center for African American Art departments.

Tickets are $200, and $350 for the VIP cocktail reception. For tickets, call 313-833-4005 or go to   

To learn more about Maureen and Roy S. Roberts and their gift to the museum, see our previous post HERE.

Source: Detroit Institute of Arts

Boris Kodjoe & Nicole Ari Parker to Host Terri J. Vaughn's 8th Annual Angel Awards Benefit

Local Community Leaders Honored; R&B Vocalist Kelly Price to Perform at Benefit on Saturday, August 13, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Accomplished actors Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker will host the highly-anticipated 8th Annual Angel Awards Benefit affair that will raise funds for the Take Wings Foundation founded by actress Terri J. Vaughn. Growing up in distressed areas like her own childhood neighborhood—San Francisco's Hunter's Point projects, Vaughn founded the non-profit organization to address social and life skills needs of at-risk teens. Kodjoe and Parker are the founders of Sophie’s Voice Foundation, named in honor of their daughter Sophie, who was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth.

The evening will honor Warren J. Strudwick, M.D., M.B.A. and Fitzpatrick Dealership Group president Edward Fitzpatrick for their respective spirited community involvement and philanthropic contributions. Providing entertainment for the evening will be GRAMMY®-nominated vocalist Kelly Price, and surprise celebrity guests are expected to attend. The San Francisco Marriott Marquis located at 55 Fourth Street, will be the host venue for the affair.

“I am excited that the Take Wings Foundation will acknowledge the professional contributions and community involvement of its two extraordinary 2011 Angel Award honorees,” said Vaughn. “Dr. Warren Strudwick, a board certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine practitioner, is president of Sinkler Miller Medical Association and head team physician for the Oakland Raiders.” She continues, “Ed Fitzpatrick is president of Fitzpatrick Dealership Group--Valley BMW and Valley Lexus in Modesto, and Coliseum Lexus of Oakland. Ed is a philanthropic contributor to the arts, education and community enhancement, who, this year had Warrior Arena at California State University renamed the Ed and Bertha Fitzpatrick Arena to recognize their monetary commitment to the school. Both of our honorees are each remarkable individuals and pillars of our community.”

Tickets are $150 each, and may be purchased online at

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Corcoran Gallery of Art to Present '30 Americans' Exhibit in Washington, DC

African American Artists Featured in Exhibition Set to Open October 1, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - This fall, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design will present 30 Americans, a wide-ranging survey of works by many of the most important African-American contemporary artists of the last three decades.

Often provocative and challenging, 30 Americans focuses on issues of racial, sexual, and historical identity in contemporary culture. It explores how each artist reckons with the notion of black identity in America, navigating such concerns as the struggle for civil rights, popular culture, and media imagery. At the same time, it highlights artistic legacy and influence, tracing subject matter and formal strategies across generations.

Originally displayed at the Rubell Family Foundation in Miami, Florida, 30 Americans has been reconceived for its presentation in Washington. At the Corcoran, the exhibition is organized around the idea of artistic community and legacy, highlighting relationships among artists from older generations and those working today.

Artists in 30 Americans include Nina Chanel Abney, John Bankston, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Bradford, iona rozeal brown, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Noah Davis, Leonardo Drew, Renée Green, David Hammons, Barkley L.Hendricks, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Kalup Linzy, Kerry James Marshall, Rodney McMillian, Wangechi Mutu,William Pope.L, Gary Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Jeff Sonhouse, Henry Taylor, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, and Purvis Young.

30 Americans explores how each artist reckons with the notion of identity in America, navigating such concerns as the struggle for civil rights, sexuality, popular culture, and media imagery,” said Sarah Newman, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran and curator of the presentation at the Corcoran. “By focusing on the way that individuals carve out their own place in the world, it speaks to the American experience more generally.”

The work in 30 Americans belongs to Miami-based collectors Don and Mera Rubell. “As the show evolved, we decided to call it 30 Americans. ‘Americans,’ rather than ‘African Americans’ or ‘Black Americans’ because nationality is a statement of fact, while racial identity is a question each artist answers in his or her own way, or not at all. And the number 30 because we acknowledge, even as it is happening, that this show does not include everyone who could be in it. The truth is, because we do collect right up to the last minute before a show, there are actually 31 artists in 30 Americans.”

Xaviera Simmons, One Day and Back Then (Standing), 2007. Color photograph, ed. 2/5,30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

30 Americans consists of 76 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and videos, and includes works of art such as Washington, D.C. native iona rozeal brown’s Sacrifice #2: It Has to Last (after Yoshitoshi’s “Drowsy: the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era”), 2007, Leonardo Drew’s massive cotton and wax sculpture Untitled #25, 1992,several of Nick Cave’s exuberant Soundsuits, (2006–2008), and Mickalene Thomas’s Baby I Am Ready Now, 2007.

A number of programs and events including a special Meet the Artists series, documentary film screenings and an evening with Don and Mera Rubell—will take place throughout the run of the exhibition, scheduled to run October 1, 2011 through February 18, 2012. The presenting sponsor is Altria Group, Inc. Additional support has been provided by Morgan Stanley. For more information, and for a special “30 Day Countdown to 30 Americans” featuring exclusive videos, images and interactive content, please visit

Top photo: Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood), 2008. Lambda print, ed. 2/5, 69 x 55 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

Source and photos:  Corcoran Gallery of Art

The Insider: DeAnna M. McLeary, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the True Star Foundation

By Sandra C. Davis
Guest Contributor,

I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way -- Whitney Houston (Greatest Love Of All)

DeAnna M. McLeary’s life is a testament to these words. As the co-founder and co-executive director of True Star Foundation, True Star Magazine and G. Next, DeAnna uses multi/social media platforms to empower and increase the literacy of urban youth in Chicago. In only seven years with her shrewd business acumen and passion for youth mentorship, DeAnna has inspired hundreds of at-risk teens to seek careers in business, media and design. All insiders know that they cannot achieve great success alone. This is why Ms. McLeary has partnered with After School Matters (ASM), Black United Fund of Illinois, and Chicago Public Schools as well as several other organizations, whose missions address youth issues.

Read on to discover how DeAnna transitioned out of corporate America to founding and leading a youth organization.

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; MBA, Marketing and Finance, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Previous positions held: Artist Management, DeAnna Deals Management; Account Executive, Suede Magazine; Consultant, Accenture
Board affiliations: Chicago Youth Voices Network
Civic or professional groups: National Black MBA Association
Honors/Awards: Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues Unsung Heroine Award

Who were some of the teacher(s) and/or mentor(s) who made a positive impact on you as a youth? How did their positive impact help lead to your success?

I had many wonderful teachers and was blessed to go to great schools, i.e. Beasley Academic Center, Whitney Young High School and Florida A&M University. I would have to choose my mother, who was my first teacher. She taught me how to read before entering school and constantly told me how smart and beautiful I was. She gave me the self-esteem and confidence that has made me fearless, and able to go after whatever dream I had. I could tell my mother admired me from an early age; her admiration set me on the course of my life now.

As the co-founder and co-executive director of the True Star Foundation, how have you defined your role in the organization? How do you collaborate to effectively solve problems within the organization?

Na-Tae' (Na-Tae' Thompson, the co-founder and co-executive director of True Star Foundation) and I have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. We have confidence in each other’s skill sets and allow each other to make decisions based on their own knowledge and instinct. We support each other in our successes and our failures. We are not judgmental, critical or waste time delegating work, we do the work! We both have cooperative spirits and collaborative natures. We see out the same lenses. We play to our strengths but understand in a small organization you have to do everything, no one is too big to sweep the floor or too small to meet with the President.

Are there any tips you would give leaders of nonprofits who work with youth? Would you give any special tips to organizations who work with youth of color?

When working with youth please leave adultism at the door, adultism is thinking you know better because you are an adult. Empower youth to make decisions, trust their judgment and take their lead. Don't be afraid to just listen without judgment or even offer advice. Hire staff that have a mutual respect for young people and their ideas. Be compassionate and empathetic to the unique needs of youth of color, who may just need attention or someone to care, about their grades or their whereabouts. Meet them where they are, e.g. make texting a part of your everyday life.

You were successful in your chosen field before True Star was founded, what about facilitating youth media and after-school programs led you to transition from corporate America to running a nonprofit?

Many times you have to work for a successful business to build a successful business. Working in corporate America taught me the importance of process, procedures and efficiency. Corporate taught me there are only two ways to increase the bottom line, increase revenues or decrease expenses. Many times it is so much easier to decrease expenses, so being lean and nimble was always how I envisioned any business I would start. Also, being in advertising sales taught me the importance of sales, setting sales goals, and closing the deal. In our youth media organization, we teach young people how to sell advertising and sponsorship, this has proven to be a tremendous strategy in building our organization. In corporate, they want the job done; there are no excuses. Working in consulting for Accenture, I couldn't tell a partner on a project I didn't know how to do it, I had to find out how; contact colleagues, do research on my own, whatever it took. That is the same attitude we have in our own organization, don't know how to write grants, get it done; don't know how to do vouchers for a city contract, get it done; don't know how to build a blog; get it done.

Can you please share with BlackGivesBack any stand-out student success stories? Do these successful True Star alumni mentor current students in the program?

Michael started in our sales and marketing program and also worked as a writer in the editorial program. With his own words he reveals how being a part of the True Star program changed his life: “True Star has really broadened my horizons and I can't help but think it has helped tons of other teens even more than it has helped me. It's a great magazine, a great program, and a great opportunity for teenagers to get a different perspective. I can honestly say that I have changed, and I don’t have a clue how I would have done it without True Star.” Michael has completed his second year at Jackson State University.

About the Guest Contributor: Sandra C. Davis is an award-winning marketing communications professional and passionate arts/ community advocate. Ms. Davis has successfully pitched national media outlets and created integrated marketing communications plans for the South Shore Drill Team, African Festival of the Arts, Dream for Kids, and the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League. Sandra is also a graduate of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago On Board nonprofit board governance training program, and now serves as a New Arts Forum Member (Junior Board Member) for Urban Gateways. Ms. Davis also serves as the Organizer (Chief Design Enthusiast) for the Chicago Design Meetup.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Morgan Freeman Auctions $75K Golf Weekend to Benefit Charity

By Akira Barclay, Contributor
BlackGivesBack NY

Morgan Freeman fans can heat up their summer by winning 18 luxurious holes with the legendary Academy Award-winning actor at charitybuzz. Freeman has teamed up with the leading charity auction site to auction the VIP experience to raise funds for his nonprofit Plan!t Now.

The winning bidder and a lucky friend will meet Freeman and philanthropist James Ferraro for a 9 am tee time at the beautiful Vineyard Golf Club at Martha's Vineyard. Later in the evening, the winner and guest will enjoy a cocktail and dinner gala at the Martha's Vineyard estate of Ferraro to celebrate the lifetime achievement of Morgan Freeman in film and philanthropy. They'll have the opportunity to mingle, drink, and enjoy an intimate dinner of 50 people with luminaries, friends of Morgan, and other high-profile guests.

The once-in-a-lifetime experience, valued at $75,000, is open for bidding now through July 13, 2011 at:

100 percent of net proceeds will benefit Plan!t Now, a nonprofit organization founded by Morgan Freeman and others after the devastating Hurricane Ivan hit Grenada in 2004. Plan!t Now provides scholarships to college students severely impacted by severe weather, funds for students to enter fields to find new ways to protect vulnerable coastal regions, creates public education campaigns and assists in rebuilding efforts. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Visible Men Hosts 'Golf & Giving' In Support of Black Males

Neil Phillips, Visible Men Founder & Executive Director (center) with (L to R) Romone Penny, Ernst & Young and Visible Men Advisory Board Member; William Jawando, White House, Department of Education; and Johnathan and Adam Holland, Founders, AJ's Hawaiian Iceez, 2011 Black Enterprise Youth Entrepreneurs Award recipients and first youth donors to Visible Men, attend the organization's' Golf and Giving' fundraiser on June 17, 2011 in Potomac, Maryland.

On June 17, 2011, Visible Men, a national success network for black boys and men, hosted 'Golf and Giving,' a fundraiser in conjunction with the U.S. Open at the home of John and Joan Vassos in Potomac, Maryland. Many came out to support the worthy cause that raised over $20,000 to support their Silver Spring, Maryland after school program along with several workshops and a new partnership in southwest Florida that will be announced soon.

Neil Phillips, Founder and Executive Director of Visible Men created the organization on the belief that the success stories of the black male experience in the United States is drastically under told. This combined with statistical evidence that the crisis among black male youth is reaching a humanitarian crisis, inspired Neil to create Visible Men. He is determined to share the success principles, narratives, and resiliency models that have allowed many successful black men to go on to thrive with young black boys in desperate need of positive role modeling and inspiration. A highlight of the event was a video produced by Visible Men that brought attention to the alarming school drop out rate among black males, and the presentation of a portrait given to the founder held by Johnathan & Adam Holland, Founders of AJ's Hawaiian Iceez and 2011 Black Enterprise Youth Entrepreneurs Award recipients in the above photo.

Neil Phillips (center) with guests.

Shannon Rohrer Phillips, Associate Director of Visible Men (right) with guests.

Event host Joan Vassos (left) with guests Cal and Jack Daggitt of Bethesda.

Among the guests in attendance were sports personalities David Feldman of Fox5, Dan Hellie of NBC4, Steven Sands of the Golf Channel, Steve Buckhantz of Comcast, and Dustin Johnson, PGA Golfer. Founder Neil Phillips shared, “The night was an excellent illustration of our charge: to unite individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds that are committed to helping empower young African American males. We believe in modeling positive partnerships, positive messages, and positive outcomes.”

Visible Men encourages African American males to become role models through their Success Network for black boys throughout the nation.  Learn more about the network, the organization's inVision Project and their speaking presentations for schools, organizations and corporate groups by visiting  Also, join them on Facebook and follow on Twitter at  

Photo credit: Yacouba Tanou/ YTanou Photography,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins Calls on African Americans to Step Up and Donate Marrow

July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins rose to fame as an actress, singer and member of the popular 90s musical group TLC – all while quietly battling sickle cell disease. Now, she is lending her famous voice to encourage people, especially those in the African American community, to join the Be The Match Registry® as potential bone marrow donors.

“As a person with sickle cell disease and an advocate for everyone fighting this disease, I was naturally drawn to Be The Match,” Watkins said. “Unfortunately, myths about bone marrow donation keep many people from joining the Be The Match Registry and potentially saving a life. That is why I am passionate about encouraging everyone to learn the facts about bone marrow donation through these PSAs. We need more African Americans to step up.”

A bone marrow transplant can be a cure for someone with sickle cell disease or other illnesses like leukemia and lymphoma. Most patients who need transplants do not have a match in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match. Many African Americans and other minorities can’t find marrow donors – like Imani Cornelius, of Minneapolis. Imani was recently diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and her only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Her doctors continue to search the Be The Match Registry for a matching donor, but that search has not been easy as Imani is biracial.

Right now, the chance of finding a match on the Be The Match Registry is close to 93 percent for Caucasians, but for African Americans and other minorities, the chances can be as low as 66 percent. The tissue types used for matching patients with donors are inherited, so patients are most likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. There are 9 million people on the Be The Match Registry, but only 7 percent are African American. To learn more about Be The Match and view the PSA, visit
Source: Be The Match

Monday, July 4, 2011

Photos of the Day

NBA All-Star and New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul (center) hosted his first CP3K Walk for Kids presented by The Coca-Cola Company on June 30, 2011 at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event led over 300 youth for a 3K walk encouraging them to stay active and lead healthy lifestyles as one of his CP3 Foundation’s initiatives. A surprise performance was provided by Interscope Records recording artist Mindless Behavior, pictured with Chris above.

Learn more about the foundation by visiting

Rob Jackson of McDonald’s USA presents a check for $40,000 to Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute (right), founders of the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) during the 2011 McDonald’s 365Black Awards on July 1, 2011 in New Orleans. The annual awards event recognizes individuals who make a significant contribution to the African American community year round. Blige shared about her award: "My career has been about giving back. To be a philanthropist, it's been a dream of mine since I was a child. I’m happy and so blessed to be honored by McDonald’s for this particular award." The donation will support FFAWN's scholarships for women.  Also honored were Oscar nominated and Grammy Award winning actress Ruby Dee, Radio One network founder Cathy Hughes, NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous, and civil rights activist and McDonald’s owner/operator Henry “Hank” Thomas.

Here's a reader submitted photo from Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, NJ that celebrated its 11th year of inspiring and educating the youth of Newark.  The school recently held its 2011 “Fathers for our Children” event with proceeds benefiting the school's Foundation, that provides scholarships for eighth grade students moving on to private, tuition-based high schools, as well as alumni currently enrolled in private high schools, colleges and universities. Pictured are honoree Theo Killion, CEO of the Zale Corporation, Mohamed Mariko, the Rev. Dr. Charles E. Thomas Scholarship Recipient and Male Student of the Year; along with 2007 “Fathers for our Children” honoree Newark Mayor Cory Booker. The event was sponsored by Wells Fargo and the Levenson Group of Companies.